The Problem: The Case of the Clever Bid
You have been invited to put a bid in to supply engineered products for a major governmental project. The contract has two components: providing the products and then training and monitoring the progress of the project for two years. You have reviewed the protocols and have been stewing over how to put in the “lowest responsible bid.” You have poked around in the industry and know that different companies follow different strategies. The RFP (request for proposal) does not directly address the issue of contract adjustments over the life of the contract, but the practice of adjusting contracts in the future to account for services that were not reasonably anticipated at the time of the bid appears to be acceptable.
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Be Reasonable: Explore the Options
- Components of the PracticeChoose three options to analyze. You will analyze multiple options to help ensure that you choose a reasonable option to implement.After brainstorming with the leadership team, you have identified four options:
- Submit the bid as cleanly and completely as possible and trust that the reviewer knows exactly what is needed and respects the requirements of the RFP.
- Submit the bid and include “consulting” services as free. Make up the difference later by slightly overpricing components of the other segments of the contract.
- Build “carve outs” into the bid which provides that if the cost of a necessary overall piece of the contract significantly changes in price or quantity over the life of the contract, the contract would adjust automatically.
- Deliberately underbid the contract knowing that you will be able to put in “contract adjustments” during the two year life of the contract and make up the difference in the bid.
In this step, identify the components of the practice as defined by the ethical agent. Please consider four elements: (1) standards of excellence; (2) rules that must be followed; (3) internal goods achieved; and (4) external goods achieved.
- Expectations of the Community
Now — what are the expectations of the community, the stake-holders, for a person who is excellent in this practice? Any option which does not meet the basic competencies is by definition an unethical option.
- Core Virtues
Next, considering your options, which one best meets the requirements of the core virtues: integrity, courage, justice, and civility?
- Unity of Life
Now, reflecting on the options, which one best meets the ethical actor’s requirements for unity of life? Which one best exemplifies the standards of a life as a whole?
- Core Commitments
Finally, consider which option is most consistent with the ethical actor’s core commitments. Which option has the potential to energize and transform both the ethical actor and the community?
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